Problem: Overpopulation. Solution? Bring in more people

July 22, 2010
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

What the Minister Mentor is in effect saying is that floods are going to be a part of life in Singapore – so get used to it …PM Lee said that the Government intends to further open the immgration gates to bring in another 100,000 foreign workers this year.Singapore Democrats

Rarely do stories dovetail so perfectly to make nonsense of what officialdom spews out, but these two did: What Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said yesterday about the floods in Singapore and what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Singaporeans about foreign workers.

Lee Sr told his listeners: “There’s a limited amount of space that’s been dug underground, limited amount of space you can run off for canals and if you have an extraordinary rainfall, well you got to prepare for it.” Limited amount of space in Singapore. Now who could have guessed that?
 
Haven’t we been having that fact beaten into our heads for only, oh, the last half-a-century?

We all know that Mr Minister. We live it everyday. Not all of us live in a house on a hill-top on Orchard Road, remember? Most of us live in flats whose bedrooms are no bigger than Changi Prison cells. Some of us have to stand, face-to-elbow-sometimes-armpit, in over-packed MRT trains.

Yes, we know that we live in an over-populated city. So over-populated in fact that the Overpopulation Index tells us that we are the number one over-populated country in the world. The Index surveys the degree to which “a country can support itself from its own renewable resources.” According to the study Singapore’s dependency, or proportion of consumption sourced from outside the country, is the highest in the world.

So we know two things: One, we don’t have enough land to build enough canals to keep rainwater flowing out into the sea instead of into our living rooms and, two, we are the numero uno over-populated country on this planet.

Will someone then please explain why in all of the PAP’s wisdom are we going to bring in more people from other places to come to stay here? Last week PM Lee said that the Government intends to further open the immgration gates to bring in another 100,000 foreign workers this year.

This is one of those moments where we think that our ministers have formed their committees, obtained all the white papers, and computed all their calculations and come up with a left-no-stone-unturned study that has anticipated all problems. 

But this is also one of those moments where we have to remind our readers that a limping suspected terrorist went for a pee and then walked out of a high-security detention centre. Or an (allegedly drunk) artist cut through the fence of a protected mass public transport depot with clippers and painted graffiti on a train – which the train people didn’t even know was graffiti that had been painted.

Foreign Minister George Yeo once said that the Government should have in place a masterplan to see how we can house all the foreign workers it has allowed into this country. It is a very good idea. It would be an even better idea to do this before that proverbial horse bolted. Studying how we can put a gate in place now may be a tad late.

What the Minister Mentor is in effect saying is that floods are going to be a part of life in Singapore – so get used to it. What his Government does about it, whether it does anything about it – or worse, whether it worsens the situation by bringing in more people to live here, is no business of the people already living here. We just need to make sure that the GDP goes up by that one more digit.

Now doesn’t seem to be a bad time to live on the hill on Orchard.